This is my 2nd day without having soft drinks at home – ones with artificial sweetener – for 2 days. For years, almost the first thing I do when I stumble out of the bedroom is head for the refrigerator for my Cherry Coke Zero. Well, who am I kidding? It is the first thing that I do.
I’ve gone back and forth on giving them up for years. I’ve cut back over time, but never have been able to make quitting stick. I gave up sugary soft drinks many years ago. I guess I gave them up and started with Diet Coke when it came out in the 1980s. When Diet Cherry Coke came out a few years later I was hooked on it. I have to confess that for years I drank this all the time. Probably 5 or 6 cans a day at least.
I’ve read the arguments that some make about artificial sweeteners being dangerous. But, I’ve never been persuaded on that. One of my favorite writers on nutrition, David Katz perhaps best expresses my view on artificial sweeteners in this post. Much of his objection to them seems to be the idea that they promote a “sweet tooth” such that we are more likely to want to eat sweet food. I’ve never really felt like that has happened with me. I don’t really crave sugary stuff. I just like the taste of Cherry Coke Zero (and Coke Zero to a lesser extent).
On the other hand, I’ve been trying to be a better me in part by eating a more nutritious diet. I don’t think that there is anything nutritious about artificial sweeteners. That is, maybe it has been to my benefit to drink soft drinks with artificial sweeteners in place of soft drinks with sugar. But, is there any nutritional benefit to artificial sweeteners? I tend to think there isn’t.
For awhile, I gave up buying soft drinks for the house. I would buy a 20 oz. Coke Zero or Cherry Coke Zero if I was at the grocery store or getting gas. That ended up working out to about one a day. But, over time that started creeping up. I would buy more than one at the store and so would drink two or three 20 oz. drinks a day. That was very expensive since it is much cheaper to buy the 12 packs with cans in them.
So, a few months ago I decided to buy the 12 packs for the house again, but only drink one or two a day. To have one or two in the morning to basically get some caffeine in me (I’m not a coffee drinker and I have a hard time waking up in the morning). That was fine for awhile, but I could see the amount creeping up and becoming 3 or 4 in a day.
In the meantime, I was trying to find an alternative. I bought a Pur water dispenser with filter and started drinking more water. That didn’t work for the morning, though, since I wanted to have caffeine in the morning. I started making unsweet iced green tea to give me some caffeine and to have the nutritional benefits of Green Tea.
To get some flavor, I would occasionally put in some True Lemonade. I guess a true purist wouldn’t use that either. I use one packet in 16 oz. of water. It has 10 calories with 1 gram of sugar and also with stevia leaf extract. I don’t eat a lot of added sugar so I feel OK with having a packet of this every day or so.
Anyway, we ran out of Cherry Coke Zero this weekend and I decided not to buy any. I’ve been drinking Iced Green Tea (with the True Lemonade) when I first get up and then water after that.
I haven’t been perfect in that I had a Coke Zero on Sunday afternoon and another one when I was out earlier today. While I don’t think it is awful to occasionally have one, I think it will probably end up being easier for me to just give them up entirely.
Catching up on a few other things. I have an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon to look at my knee/hamstring next week. I’ve been doing a lot of walking and it doesn’t seem to make anything worse. But, the hamstring (if that is what it is) doesn’t seem to be getting any better either.